The Home Environment
Create the proper environment at home for your music student. "Musical children are not born — they are raised," says Robert Cutietta, author of Raising Musical Kids and professor of music education at the University of Southern California. It all begins by creating a "musical environment" at home. He suggests exposing children from an early age to different kinds of music, and getting them to focus by asking age-appropriate questions, such as "What does that sound like to you? Does it sound like a bird, a tree swaying in the wind?" If you play a musical instrument yourself, let your child see you playing and express your love for music. "Kids see what parents value," says Cutietta. "If music is a part of your life and you value it, they will see that."
Prepare in advance for the end of the honeymoon period
For most children who start playing an instrument, there's a honeymoon period when they are excited and anxious to play at every opportunity. "Parents are often tricked into thinking their child loves the instrument," notes Cutietta, "but actually it's just a new toy to them. From the beginning, parents need to prepare for the time when their child is no longer in love with the instrument. They should not take the child's interest for granted. They should set realistic goals, which should not be time-goals like 'practice for a half-hour each day' but rather music goals like 'play four measures of this piece.'" If you wait to put goals in place as your child starts to lose interest, it may be too late.
To avoid nagging, set a regular practice time
Cutietta also suggests having a set time for practice each day to avoid arguing with your child who might say, "I don't feel like it now; I'll do it later." If your child knows that at 4 p.m. everyday he is supposed to practice, there will be less need to nag. "It's also OK to acknowledge that practice is not always a lot of fun," says Cutietta. "Music is not all fun. It's hard work and there's nothing wrong with that."
Don't rely on the spring concert as an incentive
Cutietta doesn't advise reminding your child about the spring concert as a way to keep him engaged. "That could be light-years away, as far as your child is concerned," he says. "It's much better to have more immediate, easy-to-achieve performance goals." He suggests organizing a mini-recital where your child can perform in front of a few family members and friends. This can be easy to arrange and becomes both a goal and a reward.
Quoted from: http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/should-you-let-your-child-quit/
How You Fit In
Always keep in mind that your support is a key element in your child`s success with music study. Music achievement requires effort over an extended period of time. You can help your child by:
Do's and Don't's
What To Do
To give your child the best possible support, you should:
What Not To Do
Your child`s progress will be greatly enhanced if you:
Frequently Asked Questions
My child wants to switch instruments. Is this possible?
It is best that students stay on the instrument they choose at the beginning of the year. Usually the reason students want to switch is because the believe they have already learned how to play that instrument and now want to try a new one. While that may work for video games, learning a musical instrument is a life-long process - and one never truly masters their instrument.
My child wants to quit band. Why? and What should I do?
The idea that a student wants to quit band is a common occurrence when learning a musical instrument. Learning to play a musical instrument is a challenge, and with every challenge comes success and failure. There is a quote that states, "the road to the next level is always uphill." When students understand and attack the challenge, rather than recoil from it, they begin to understand the learning process. Plus, valuable lessons can be taught about fulfilling commitments.
What should a parent do when interest is seemingly lost?
1.Encourage, encourage, encourage them to keep trying.
2.Have them play music that is fun and enjoyable for them to play (Disney music, fun folk songs, a favorite song from the radio)
3.Remind them of how much they enjoyed band when they were first learning and that it was a challenge, but they overcame it and had success.
Should I upgrade my child`s instrument?
If you can afford it, the short answer is: YES! Moving to a better quality instrument usually will result in the student being able to play with better tone and more in tune. Other benefits are: faster key and valve action, additional keys or valves which allow the student access to higher or lower notes. I am always happy to help with this process. Please let me know if you are considering an upgraded instrument and I can assist with brands and models of instruments that will be of value. A word of caution - what looks like a great bargain may not be one. The old expression is very true - YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
Are private lessons required?
Private lessons are NOT required, but ARE highly encouraged! One-on-one instruction is an invaluable resource that students cannot get very often (if at all) during class time. If your child studies with an expert on their chosen instrument, they will grow much faster than they would otherwise.
Quoted from http://traughberband.weebly.com/motivation--success.html
Final Words of Wisdom
STARTING AND PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT
1. Beginning instrumental students need encouragement. Help them succeed by
4. Sit down with them at least once a week and while they practice. Have them show you what they are
doing - they can even teach you what they are learning! Ask your child to explain their learning to you.
5. Band meets EVERY DAY! Students should ALWAYS have their instrument at school.
6. Make every effort to keep the instrument in good working condition. Nothing is more frustrating than
trying to play an instrument that does not work properly.
7. Every instrument has periods in the learning process that will be difficult. Encourage them to "persevere." Please feel free to call the Mr. Hinman if you have questions (720-886-1561).
8. Woodwind instruments will need a good supply of reeds (except flute). Brasses will need slide oil and valve oil. Music stands are necessary for home practice. Metronomes, polishing cloths, CDs of the instrument, are great holiday gift ideas.
9. Please consider taking a few lessons on the instrument yourself, it will give you better insight into what your student is going through, and it may be fun for your child as well as yourself. Duets, trios, get the whole family involved!
10. As a teacher, I try to set the students up for success - I want them to succeed! Let me know what I can do to help!
Quoted from http://traughberband.weebly.com/motivation--success.html
...your child loses interest?
...you hear these comments from your child?
“I don’t have time to practice”
One of many beneficial skills learned through music is the art of time management. Since learning music takes a little bit of consistent time each day, students will need to learn to plan ahead and map out how their day is going to take shape. When a student gets home from school each day, they should evaluate how much homework they need to finish and what goals they have in mind for their practice session. By making this checklist each day, students can make sure they fit practicing onto the list. If a student knows that they won’t get home until late one day, they can try to set aside a little time in the morning to practice, or break their practice session into two smaller chunks to get the time in. If a student has a ton of homework one night, it may be beneficial for them to take a brain break from the homework and play their instrument for a few minutes. This change of pace may refresh and rejuvenate them to finish their homework with a renewed energy. The efficiency needed to learn music may also translate to students doing their homework more efficiently too.
“I don’t have anything to practice”
To be honest, this statement will never be true. Even professional musicians always have something they wish to improve in their musicianship. What your child may really be saying is “I’m bored” or “I’m not being challenged”. Please contact the band directors and private lesson teacher to discuss what skill areas the student can continue to improve, and fun challenging music that will keep the student engaged.
“I already learned my music”
Great! Ask for a performance of the music! Then encourage your student to seek out new music to learn. Finding new music to sight-read is always an option, and so is improvising or making up/composing new music. Your student can also take technique patterns that they already know, such as scales, and work on getting them faster or smoother or louder or softer, etc.
“I don’t know how it goes”
Your student may come across a challenging piece of music that is initially overwhelming. Remind them that they do have the skills to figure it out, and encourage them to break the music down into layers and decipher it a layer at a time. Even as a non-musician, you should be able to look at the music and decide if it looks small and complicated or not. Sometimes students perceive music that is small and busy to be difficult, when it is simply just small and hard to see, not hard to play. If you have the ability to magnify the music, students will already start to think that it is easier. Then isolate a small chunk of the music and begin decoding. Ask your student “Do you know all these note names?”. Have them point to each note and say what it is. Then ask them if they know what the fingerings for all the notes are. If they are unsure, they can look it up in the back of their band book or online. Then ask them to tell you what count each note happens on. Even if they are initially unsure of the rhythm, they should be able to look at the time signature and through a process of elimination figure out each beat. After decoding these layers, they should slowly be able to add everything back together. If this doesn’t work, have them ask their band director for help the next day, and practice something else for the rest of the session. Students should learn how to problem solve when practicing since there is no teacher with them, they need to become their own teacher.
“I can’t hear the metronome when I’m playing so I’m not going to use it”
Some instruments are louder than others and they make hearing the metronome difficult while playing. Fortunately there are a few solutions. Most students have their metronome on their music stand, but if their instrument is also aimed at the music stand it may be hard to hear. Try moving the metronome somewhere else, such as behind the student where it is out of the way of the instrument sound. The student can also plug in a pair of headphones to the metronome (they all come with headphone/speaker jacks) for a more direct metronome to ear source. This is good when students are focusing solely on their tempo, but may prevent students from clearly hearing their tone and articulation. The best approach would be to plug the metronome into a set of speakers, such as through a sound system or a set of computer speakers. Now the student can hear the metronome and their instrument sound at the same time.